Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Check's In The Mail Soon
10:41 am edt
I called the Assessor's Office
at City Hall today about my auto Excise Tax bill. I received one for my new car after paying a bill for my previous one. I
inquired about the abatement process.
clerk handled it over the phone. She processed the tranaction and said I should receive a check in the mail in about a month.
I will pay the bill I have for my new car.
whole process went so smoothly that I wonder if something will get messed up. She was very courteous and processed my abatement
in a matter of minutes.
The clock starts ticking on my check.
Monday, April 29, 2013
Setting The Grid
3:23 pm edt
I love learning about the
history of New York City. I'm reading a book about the mapping of Manhattan to its current grid format. It goes back to a
land surveyor who did the work under contract from 1811-1820. The layout of the streets and avenues remains mostly unchanged
The book has
pictures of the maps from 1820 which clearly show Manhattan as it looks today. The big exception is
Central Park. Back then, there was talk of having some type of central promenade, but the area occupied by the future Central
Park was a shanty town filled with vagrants and indigents.
Homeless people have always been part of the city's fabric. Some of the problems of today
are no different than back in the 1800's. It's just on a larger scale now.
Sunday, April 28, 2013
Viva El Cortez
10:29 pm edt
I was pleased to read about
the El Cortez casino in Las Vegas being named to the National Register of Historical Places. The fine example of 20th century
architecture with the classic neon signs received it back in February.
Located on Fremont St. in the Old Downtown section, it has survived in spite of many changes
to the buildings around it. Las Vegas is a fascinating city that constantly tears itself down and rebuilds even bigger.
My first trip there was in 1993. I was able to see
the remnants of some of the classic places like the Flamingo, Sahara , Riviera and many others from a time when the "Rat
Pack" ruled the Strip and things were on a smaller scale.
My last trip was in 1997. I can't imagine how things have changed out there. Too many nice
examples of buildings from 50's and 60's had a date with the wrecking ball.
It wasn't always progress.
Saturday, April 27, 2013
Quincy Gets The Call
4:30 pm edt
Any Hall Of Fame can be controversial
regarding who gets elected. They are filled with questionable candidates, in some cases. You can never please everyone when
the selections are announced. Some members get in too early, others too late and some not at all.
The induction of the legendary Quincy Jones to the
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is long overdue. He gets in with the infamous lifetime achievement award.
It should have been done a long time ago. His resume is too long to outline here. He as 27 Grammy Awards from a record 79
nominations. His influence on today's music is too big to measure.
All I can say is welcome and what took so long?
Friday, April 26, 2013
Putting It Away
4:08 pm edt
It's another beautiful spring
day. Winter is in the rear-view mirror. It's time to get ready for some nice weather.
I also need to clean the trunk of my car. I no longer need my snow shovel, scraper or brush.
They can all the put away until next winter. The same holds for my winter coats. It's time to take them to the cleaners. I'll
also bring a few of my sweaters, but not all. It's still cool in the evenings. I'm not ready to break out the polo shirts
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Not Booking It
1:51 pm edt
I saw a Facebook posting asking
people for recommendations of audio-books for a long car trip. That's one thing I would never do. I listen to the radio or
music CD's when I drive, but I don't think I could pay enough attention to a book.
I know several people who swear by it. They always listen to them on long trips. I never
tried it, but I just don't think it would work out for me. I'm a slow reader to begin with. The amount of time it takes me
to read a book or the newspaper is another story.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
How Fresh Is It?
1:53 pm edt
I'm very happy with my recent
habit of buying fresh strawberries and eating them with blueberries. They make a great combination. The strawberries are very
plump and sweet.
wonder how fresh some of this stuff really is. My last batch of strawberries had some that were very bruised in the bottom
of the container. I give my vegetables and fruit a careful inspection, but you can't inspect every strawberry. The ones I
bought today looked very good.
It's always a challenge to buy "fresh" produce.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
21 Is Wrong
9:55 pm edt
I have a strong objection
to the proposed law in New York City to prohibit the sale of cigarettes to those under the age of 21.
This is so bizarre and any discussion borders on a waste of time.
I still feel that if you can die for this country, you should be able to smoke or drink legally. There is no doubt that smoking is bad. Nobody could ever make a strong argument
in its favor.
to the under 21 law is because of excessive government regulations. They are trying to compare cigarettes to alcohol.
I object to the 21 year age requirement to buy
liquor. A 20 year old kid returning as a GI from Iraq or Afghanistan would violate state liquor laws
if he went out to celebrate and drank in a VFW or AMVETS club.
Monday, April 22, 2013
Time Passes Week To Week
2:37 pm edt
It's now a week after the
marathon. Soon it will be two weeks and then two months and so on. It will be in our rear-view mirror, but never forgotten.
This was suppose to be my 75th marathon, but it ended abruptly for many of us.
Back in November, I tried to do my 75th in New York City, but the race was canceled because
of Super Storm Sandy. I'll be making another attempt at #75 in November. Hopefully, things work out on the third try. You never know.
Sunday, April 21, 2013
A Week Ago Tonight
9:23 pm edt
A week ago at this time, I
was trying to relax and get ready for bed at 10:30. I knew I would have a problem falling asleep because of the marathon the
next day. It took forever before I got only a few hours of sleep.
I wondered how the day would play out. I never thought it would end the way it did. Things
happened real fast. Life got turned upside down.
I picked up my medal today. It was kind of awkward for a race I never finished. I was trying so hard
before they took my opportunity away from me.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
The Power Of One
9:51 am edt
We saw the event of our lifetime
yesterday with the search for "Suspect 2" in the Boston Marathon bombings. There was an unprecedented lock-down
in a large metropolitan area. An enormous army of law enforcement personnel did a house to house search in Watertown, but
came up empty.
6pm, the lock-down was lifted. A guy in Watertown went out in his yard with his wife to get some fresh
air. He noticed the cover on his winterized boat had been disturbed and saw blood. He dialed 911 and rest is history.
Apparently, "Suspect 2" had been there
all the time. If the lock-down had not been lifted, who knows how this might have played out. One citizen finally cracked
the case by being vigilant.
Friday, April 19, 2013
Today's End Game
1:12 pm edt
A week ago at this time, I
was looking forward to the 2013 Boston Marathon with great anticipation. When the carnage unfolded at the finish line, the
race was stopped. That seems minuscule compared to those who died or were maimed.
The stakes have been raised with the events of today.
One police officer was murdered, another wounded, and "Suspect 1" is dead. There is a major lock-down in Watertown,
Cambridge, Boston, Newton, Belmont and Brookline. We have never seen anything like this before. When will it end? How
will it end?
are certainly watching history being written before our eyes. The suspects have a connection to Chechyna. At first, I thought
it was a couple of Columbine type of kids.
story will change with the killing or capture of the remaining suspect. It could lead us to some real ugly facts about who
they are and what motivated them to do this. I'm sure they won't be the last.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
To Pay Or Not To Pay
2:14 pm edt
Governments at all levels
have initiated laws to regulate labor conditions. Many have certainly helped the working conditions and protected the personal
rights of individuals.
of the biggest controversies facing us is whether private businesses should be forced to provide paid sick days to their employees. There are many bills before various state legislatures trying to come up with the best solution.
I worked for the federal government and got 13 paid
days per year. It was a great benefit to have as an employee, but what do you do with small businesses that can't afford the
have an issue providing unpaid days. Employees often fear losing their job if they stay home when they are sick or to attend
to a family member.
the end, whatever decision is made will be based on the bottom-line financial cost. It's a controversy that won't go away
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Two Days After
10:15 pm edt
It's amazing to watch the
Marathon Bombing story unfold in front of 24/7 media coverage. The Cuban Missile Crisis might have been different with this
much attention, but that's how it is.
This is such a story. A day of infamy. How do you compare it to 9/11? Two different days.
Who did it?
if we are ready to deal with where this investigation might go. It might not be pretty.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Where Does The Road Go?
11:44 pm edt
It seems hard to believe when
you hear the words "Boston Marathon Bombing" in the news That's the title for all of the news shows. In this day
of 24/7 coverage, no detail is left out. At times, it looks like the news is on a continual loop. The same stuff shows up
after an hour or two.
wonder how this will all end up. Who did it? Was it foreign or domestic people? Nobody knows at this point. I have no doubt
that they will find out sooner rather than later. What will the response be?
Nobody really knows at this point. We can speculate forever without coming up with the truth.
The story is being written before our eyes. I never wanted to be part of such a horrible story.
The Boston Marathon was always meant to be a celebration
and a passage of spring. It's been around for 117 years and will go on. The race will outlive us all.
Monday, April 15, 2013
The Ending of the Day
11:56 pm edt
The events of today were quite shocking. I was lying in bed at 4am wondering how my
day in the Boston Marathon would go. I was dealing with an ongoing issue of patella tendinitis in my left knee. It got real
bad last week. I struggled throughout the race.
It all changed at 18 miles when I heard of the explosions
at the finish line. I ran another two miles before we were pulled off the race course.
was a senseless tragedy. It reinforced my belief that you never know how things will work out. You can make all the plans
in the world, but you never know if you are going to make it home at the end of the day. Life is very unpredictable and can
change in a moment.
Today is ending in a few minutes. Tomorrow is another day. You never
know what might happen.
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Giving It Another Kick
10:26 am edt
Women's soccer will attempt
to start their third professional league. The first two were financial disasters, in spite of the game's popularity. This
time, it will be different. The soccer federations from several countries will be subsidizing a few players from each team.
There will be a $200,000 salary cap for per squad. This will force most players to work part-time jobs.
Will this be the recipe for success? I have my doubts. Women's
soccer has a very hard-core and devoted fan base, but without a television contract, I think the prospects for long term survival
buy tickets and attend the games. Some sponsors have signed up, but the overhead costs for plane flights,
hotels, medical staffs and other fixed costs will be too much of a burden.
I hope the league survives because it's a way of building the sport in this country. Amateur soccer
provides a healthy athletic outlet for women of all ages.
Men's professional soccer continues to survive, but has its own issues. Although the game has caught
on in this country, the league continues to face economic instability.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
Bad Looking Apples
11:01 pm edt
Apple computer stores are
noted for their glass box style. They are very modernistic. I'm not a fan of the one in Boston. It's totally out of character
for the neighborhood. It's located on Boylston St in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston.
The design was controversial when first proposed,
but the final result looks terrible. Some feel that the historic nature of the Back Bay stifles any type of creativity in
building design. Preservation groups can get Draconian in their demands for conformity, but I'm not sure what happened in
the case of the store in Boston.
I've seen two of their stores in New York City. The one in the Meatpacking District looks
awesome. They preserved a turn of the century building. The store fits well in the neighborhood. I can't say the same about
the one on Fifth Ave and 59th St. It's another glass box that looks totally out of character with the
newest one in Grand Central Station is very controversial. I'm looking forward to checking it out.
Friday, April 12, 2013
Always Being Carted Around
4:29 pm edt
Whenever kids play,
it's always some type of organized activity. There are many to choose from. I think parents over-indulge their children starting
at an early age.
I overheard a conversation today while in line at the market. The mother was telling the cashier about her busy schedule.
She lamented that her car was always messy because she was carting her kids to either karate or lacrosse.
This cracked me up. When I was a kid, only
adults did martial arts. I recently saw a picture of someone's kid doing karate at the age of three. I guess there is no age
limit as long as you can pay.
The same goes for lacrosse. The game has exploded in popularity. When I was at UMass, the only kids who played
were from a few wealthy Boston suburbs. Other than that, they were from New Jersey or Long Island.
I recently saw a Facebook comment by someone
carting their pre-schoolers from swimming lessons to karate. So many kids stop doing this stuff when they get older and can
make their own decisions
With all these hectic schedules, families no longer eat together and spend their time eating fast food in the car.
Kids begin a life of bad nutrition habits.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
It Was The Batteries
2:14 pm edt
I still have my telephone
in my bedroom. Land lines are becoming a dying breed. I'm not ready to give mine up.
I bought the phone a couple of years ago. I needed one with a display for caller ID. Everything
was going fine until the other day. The display was getting dimmer until it disappeared. At first, I thought I might have
a problem with the phone.
a few moments, I realized that the batteries must be dead. I opened the back of the phone and replaced the. All is well now.
It was a little puzzling to me why I didn't first
think of the batteries. I should have known right from the start, but it took me a few minutes to figure that one out.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Never Really Done
1:04 pm edt
Benjamin Franklin was right
when he said that the only two sure things in life are death and taxes. It still holds true for today.
I also feel that you can never have all of your
laundry and dishes done. When they are, it's only for that brief moment. Eventually, more dishes get put in the sink and laundry
builds up. It's a never ending cycle.
thing that you couldn't possibly stay ahead of is cleaning your residence. Whether you own a home or rent like me, it never
really gets done. The bathroom is only clean until its next use. Then, the cycle starts all over again.
I did two loads of laundry today and my sink is
empty of dishes. I vacummed my rooms, but the bathroom still needs a lot of attention.
Food shopping is never really done. I'll be going
this afternoon to spend my money, but it only lasts until I start to run out of things.
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Saying No To Harvard
9:49 am edt
The endowment fund of Harvard
University is bigger than the annual GNP of many nations. They are the richest university in the world. Their ability to accumulate
wealth is unmatched.
subscribe to a couple of health newsletters from Harvard Medical School. They are very informative about different aspects
I was shocked
to receive a request from the school to consider giving them a charitable gift annuity. Every dollar counts, but what they
could get from me would be a small drop in the bucket. It might not even be a drop.
They must send this to all of their subscribers. Am I suppose to feel flattered that Harvard
would reach out to me?
I had wealth, I would cut big checks to UMass on a regular basis. I donate annually, but there will never be a building with my name on it.
Monday, April 8, 2013
10:54 am edt
People always copy expressions
of others. There are some that I can't stand and never use. One of them is "Go for it". It's way overused
by everyone. They say it for almost anything. It could be for setting a goal or
grabbing the last piece of dessert.
also dislike "Get my ducks in order". It's another one I've never used and have no intention of uttering. In my
former career, the work environment was filled with cliches such as "Getting behind the numbers" and "Kicking
it up a notch". It got to the point where I felt resentment when I heard them.
The expression I hated the most was "Read my lips". I thought George H.W. Bush
used it very effectively during his Presidential campaign. One of my former co-workers used it to the point where it was
a source of irritation to everyone who heard it.
I have more respect for someone who comes up with their own ideas. It's easy to copy someone. It doesn't
take any effort.
Sunday, April 7, 2013
The Case of the Pillow
1:25 pm edt
Yesterday was National Pillow
Fight Day. They had one in Boston which gathered a huge crowd. I'm surprised they allowed something like this. We live in
a "Nanny State" filled with "helicopter parents" and overprotection from virtually anything that could
be potentially harmful.
they were able to pull this off. I think it was lame and a total waste of time. When the media stops covering nonsense like
this, these things will go away. Until then, we will be forced to hear another story about this next
Saturday, April 6, 2013
Controlling The Towers
9:10 pm edt
The recent budget stalemate
in Congress is showing how ineffective our leaders can be at time. The sequestration will create hardships for many, especially
for federal employees who will take a 20% pay-cut due to furlough days.
We are constantly hearing examples of foolish actions that will soon
be taking place. One of the most outrageous is being postponed. It involved closing the control towers at a number of small
airports across the country. It's hard to believe that this was to take place.
The FAA announced that the towers will continue
to operate. If anything were to happen to a plane and its passengers, the ultimate blame game and finger pointing would take
place. It would not be out of concern for the victims. The politicians would be trying to cover their backs. The public reaction
would be devastating.
Friday, April 5, 2013
Just Say No To Limos
8:37 pm edt
I saw a very long limousine
today. They are all over the place. Prom season will certainly bring more of them out. Kids ride in them like it's nothing.
It's normal for a bunch of 10 year olds to ride to a birthday party. It gets a bit much at times.
My experience in limousines has never been positive.
It was always about family funerals. I never got married so that eliminates one chance. I was in three weddings, but always
took my own car.
I never ride in another one, I'm ok with that. Other than weddings and funerals, I think they are frivolous and a waste on
money. I guess it's the thing to do if you want to party with a bunch of people on the way to
hope you have a good driver. You never know with them. He might have knocked back a few at home before he left.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
An Easy Break
2:04 pm edt
People make it easier for
thieves to break into cars by leaving valuable items out in view. I see it all the time. It doesn't matter where it is. People
often don't lock their car when it's parked in their driveway.
A recent initiative by the NYPD in certain Brooklyn neighborhoods is being met with mixed
comments. Police are snapping photos of cars who are displaying their contents and then emailing the picture to the owner,
along with a caution to have them removed from sight.
I think this sounds like a good idea, but others don't agree. When police snap the picture,
they also learn the registration and license status of the owner. They can determine if there are any outstanding arrest warrants
that this is an invasion of privacy. They have a valid point, but their lazy attitude about the contents
of their car is contributing to the crime problem.
Whenever there is a rash of car breaks in a neighborhood, you can count on a number of owners who
didn't look their car or secure the contents.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
2:27 pm edt
The aging process is not always
kind to everyone. Some people die young and never get old. Advancements in health care have lead to longer lives. The issue
now is "quality of life".
recent study by Medicare said that 80% of the people who use the little motorized scooters for mobility would
be better off it they used a cane or walker. I have no idea how they came up with this conclusion.
AARP publications always contain ads for these products. They try to entice the elderly into using them rather than a walker or cane. I can understand how
things get to that point.
are many people who have no option because of various health concerns. I hope I never get to that point.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Going For Broke
1:29 am edt
Commercials and advertisements
often make claims that cannot be verified. They end up misleading the public with their statements.
A financial advisory company
makes a very dubious claim on a local radio station. They say that the majority of Americans are more
concerned about outliving their money in retirement than they are with disease and dying.
I find this claim to be preposterous. I would rather get older and be broke than have a disease
or die. Why do they say foolish things like this? Whoever wrote the ad is just throwing things out there for effect.
They might have more credibility if
it was from the Gallup Poll.
Monday, April 1, 2013
Everyone Must Be Honored
4:46 pm edt
The Boston Globe announced
their high school "All-Scholastic" teams for winter sports. The entire process is a farce
because too many students are on the teams.
Basketball is a joke. First they have the "Super-Team" with five players and then another
ten on the "All-Scholastic". Each league has their own "All-Star" teams with even more players.
The other sports are just as bad. With so many selected,
the team becomes meaningless. I'm sure it's like this because every parent wants their precious one to be honored. The easiest
thing to do is to make everyone a star.